Madolenihmw (pronounced mä.tō.lĕn.eem) is the largest of Pohnpei’s five chiefdoms and was the first to be established in the late 1600s by Isokelekel, conqueror of the Saudeleurs and Pohnpei’s first Nahnmwarki (paramount chief). It originally included the areas that now comprise U. The name means “spaces separating the houses” and refers to the district’s history of disunity and its many conflicts and power struggles.
During the 1830s, Madolenihmw’s natural harbors became popular ports-of-call for American and English whaleships, working the Pacific, and its wide lands a haven for morally-challenged Westerners who caused all sorts of havoc and participated in more than one violent engagement. The most high-profile event centered around the visiting whaleship, Lambton, and developed into a full-blown war between the Nahnmwarki and the Wasai, a rival chief, who was supported by the whalers. The fight ended with the murder of both the Nahnmwarki and his high-titled brother, Nahnawa, and the installment of the Wasai as the new paramount chief.
In 1890, Madolenihmw again became a battleground when the Spanish colonials attempted to build a Catholic mission next to the already existing Protestant church. Fighting ranged from Ohwa to Kitamw and cost the Spaniards a great deal more than they gained.
Madolenihmw today is a relaxed, simple place and reminds one (to quote a famous author) of a time “long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green . . .” It is a place that one can’t help but love.
This 18 x 20 inch (45.72 x 50.8 cm) full-color double-sided field guide folds down to 9 x 4 inches (22.86 x 10 cm) and covers the areas between the Lukop and Sapwehrek districts in Madolenihmw. It contains:
When the heat gets to be too much, Madolenihmw offers plenty of places where you can take a dip and cool off. Aside from the many waterfalls (Pahn Sile, Pahnsapw, Nankep, and Nankepinmerepw) and islands (Mwudokolos, Dahu Reirei, Nahpali, Dekemwahu, Na, Nahkapw, Nahnningi, and Mall) in the general area, one of the best places to swim is at the Lehn Diadi bridge (the name is roughly translated “pool of the floating place”). There are deep pools for swimming on both sides and beneath the bridge and grassy areas on the cobbles along the bank for picnicking. Below the bridge, a portion of the old Circle Island Road still lies across the stream. Park on the side of the road near the bridge and find one of the footpaths leading down.
Kalangan to Miller Benjamin, Relio Lengsi, and Danny Rosenkrans for helping to check central Madolenihmw’s place names for accuracy; Peterson Anson of Pohnpei Transportation & Infrastructure for helping to create the beautiful shaded relief on our maps; Danko Taborosi of Island Research & Education Initiative (IREI) for his considerable support and technical assistance; and the Australian Government for funding the production of this guide.